Using Assets for a Form I-864 Affidavit of Support

Most family-based immigration cases require the petitioner to also serve as a financial sponsor for the intending immigrant. To qualify as a sponsor, a petitioner must demonstrate sufficient means to ensure that the beneficiary family member will not become a public charge, in need of government support. In most cases, a petitioner’s annual income is used to satisfy this requirement. However, if a petitioner’s income is insufficient, a petitioner might possibly be able to use assets to qualify as a sponsor.

Affidavit of Support Overview

A petitioner serving as a financial sponsor for an intending immigrant must complete form I-864, affidavit of support under section 213A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), for the beneficiary. The purpose of the I-864 is to financially protect U.S. taxpayers. By signing the I-864, the petitioner contracts to be financially liable to the government if the sponsored family member collects certain types of means-tested public benefits (e.g., food stamps).

Using Assets to Supplement Income

A U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) who wishes to sponsor a family member for permanent residence using income alone typically must demonstrate an income level equal to or above 125 percent of the federal poverty guideline level. These guidelines are modified annually, as explained in the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, 2023 Poverty Guideline: Impacts on Affidavits of Support (08.Feb.2023).

If a petitioner does not have sufficient income to meet 125 percent of the applicable federal poverty guideline level, certain assets may be included on the I-864 to supplement some or all of the petitioner’s income. The net value of a petitioner’s assets typically must total at least five times the difference between the petitioner’s household income and the federal poverty level for the petitioner’s household size, or three times the difference, for a U.S. citizen who is petitioning for a spouse or child. A petitioner can reach the total required asset amount using a household member’s assets or the intending immigrant’s assets, in addition to the petitioner’s own assets.

Assets that can be Used to Supplement Income

A petitioner may only use assets that can be readily converted into cash within one year, without considerable hardship or financial loss to the owner. For each asset used, the owner must provide proof of ownership and proof of the asset’s net cash value. Common types of assets accepted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) include a home or other real estate, savings accounts, stocks, bonds, and certificates of deposit, among others. An automobile typically cannot be used as an asset, unless the sponsor has one or more additional automobiles that are not being used as an asset on the sponsor’s I-864.


While many petitioners can demonstrate an income of more than 125 percent of the poverty guidelines, there are situations in which it is necessary to rely on assets to meet the I-864 eligibility requirements. Attorneys at the Murthy Law Firm are available to consult with individuals who require case-specific legal advice on this or other important aspect of the green card process.


Copyright © 2023, MURTHY LAW FIRM. All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.